Rocky LaPorte heads to Harveys’ Improv
Special to the Tribune
It’s getting tougher to book him up here because of his schedule, so we’re pretty excited to have Rocky LaPorte back for the first time this year. Add to that Ron Morey and it’s almost too true for words. One of the most requested comics up here, Rocky rarely sees his home anymore: Chicago. That’s where he started out, honed his craft and won some of his earliest accolades before finally making the move out west. Rocky may be doing his business in Los Angeles, but keeps his place in Chicago, which I believe is one reason why he’s so grounded. Not that he ever gets home that often as Rocky is on the road an average of 48 weeks out of the year. Those weeks include doing clubs, theaters, corporate functions, performing for the military and auditioning whenever he can during “pilot season” for television sitcoms and what not.
If you’ve never been to a Rocky LaPorte show, you’re really missing out on a fun experience, Maybe it’s his delivery or the clever and insightful stories I don’t know but Rocky sure is an “everyman’s” kind of comic. His professional demeanour is such that he appeals to a wide cross section of the audience. I can see why he gets booked for so many corporate engagements. On the big screen you may have seen Rocky in the classic Disney remake, “The Shaggy Dog” and Tim Allen’s movie, “Crazy On the Outside” which co-starred Sigourney Weaver, Ray Liotta and Kelsey Grammer and was Allen’s directorial debut. Earlier this year I caught a re-broadcast of Showtime ‘s “The Godfathers of Comedy” (an ensemble piece of five comedians including Rocky) on Showtime and his one-hour special on Comedy Central that gets replayed pretty regularly. Not bad for a guy who started out as a Chicago truck driver and dock worker.
On the small screen, some of his credits include being on “Cheers,” “The Pat Sajack Show,” “Comic Strip Live” and his own television sitcom pilot called, “The Rocky Laporte Show” on CBS. Although the network decided to pass on it (their loss) you can still see the pilot on YouTube. Probably one of his most impressive performances is when he made his debut on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” a few years back getting a standing ovation! That was fun to watch. However, to this day Rocky still says that his greatest achievement was being voted one of the funniest guys in his class at a recent G.E.D. reunion.
Some of the headliners that Rocky has opened for include Louie Anderson, Garry Shandling, Drew Carey, Tim Allen, Hootie and the Blowfish and the Righteous Brothers just to name a few. He also does a lot of fundraisers when not on the road so much and volunteers for a multitude of organizations including St. Jude’s for Children, various NFL charities, benefits for the homeless, cancer research and police and fire dept. benefit shows as well. Of all his credits though, Rocky says that performing overseas for the troops in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq is seriously the most fun and rewarding shows ever. While performing a show outdoors at a Forward Operating Base location, some mortar bombs nearby went off to which Rocky quickly replied, “Hey. That’s nothing. You should hear the ones that go off in Detroit on a daily basis.”
They don’t call him “The Ron Monster” for nothing. He has this rapid-fire delivery that takes no prisoners and he won’t let go until he gets the laughs he deserves. Ron’s act is unique with an interesting style that makes his comedy almost infectious that got him mentioned in The Entertainment Business Journal. Maybe that’s why he always wears a suit onstage — because it counters the off-the-wall personas that is Ron onstage. I still think the best of Ron is captured offstage when you’re just hanging out with him because that’s when he’ll start doing impressions of celebrities, both flattering and unflattering. Two of my personal favorites are his take on Johnny Carson and Jay Leno. Dead-on, folks.
He also makes playing the trombone a turn-on for the ladies, re-enacting on stage how he uses the instrument as a pick-up device. Art imitating life hmmm? Maybe that’s how he was able to open for such artists as George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, Ellen DeGeneres and D. L. Hughley. And, like Rocky and myself, he too has performed overseas working for the USO in places such as Italy, Greece, Bahrain, Iraq, Bahrain, Kuwait and Germany. On television Ron has been on NFL Films, PBS, A&E and even on Snoop Dogg’s MTV show, “DoggyFizzle Televizzle.” That’s right folks. Before Snoop was a lion he was still a dogg and Snoop was looking to cast a nerdy white guy for his video. Boy did he hit pay dirt getting Morey!
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